[scribus] Flattening pdf1.4 with transparency.

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Fri Nov 14 22:18:37 CET 2008

On Friday 14 November 2008 01:29:36 pm Gregory Pittman wrote:
> John Culleton wrote:
> > Scribus does not flatten pdf 1.4 output which is required by some
> > printers, such as LSI.  After much conversation and some
> > experimentation I came up with this scheme.
> > -----------------------------------------------------
> > 1. Export file as pdf 1.4
> > 2. View file in recent Acrobat Reader.
> > 3. Print to PostScript file, first adjusting the papersize to
> > actual document dimensions.
> > 4.  run ps2pdf13 filename.ps newname.pdf
> > ------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > This makes the pdf 1.3 with transparency preserved. Whether LSI
> > will accept it without modification is a question, since it
> > doesn't say PDFx1/a:2001 or Distiller in the file. But at least
> > it is flattened.
> There are different ways of seeing this issue, of course. My
> reaction is that this illustrates a limitation of the printer based
> on his software, realizing that if you have chosen a particular
> one, you must work with his capabilities.
> The important thing to see, though, is that this is not a
> limitation of Scribus, but rather the exact opposite. Why accept a
> particular version of PDF if you cannot handle all of its
> capabilities?
> Greg

The issue is confined to LSI and to cover files, which is what I use 
Scribus for.  

LSI acts as a distributor for the books it prints. LSI is a partner 
with Ingram and Ingram is the biggest wholesaler in the USA. 
Many/most bricks and mortar book stores  act on the principle that if 
Ingram doesn't list the book the book is not available.  All LSI 
books can be listed with Ingram. So for the small or self publisher 
the decision not to use LSI is hardly trivial. 

To deal directly with Ingram a publisher must either go through 
another distributor (70% discount) or do $20,000 annually with 

Actually you can send a PDF 1.4 cover file to Ingram. But their 
prepress department will then massage it in ways that rasterizes 
everything, degrades text, blur the bars in the barcode and so on. 
The net effect is a double rasterization.  

They own the ball and the bat and you have to play by their rules. 

I would much prefer to deal with a more reasonable and higher quality 
printer like 360 Digital Books but the cards don't fall that way.  

My friends from the InDesign world note that ID will optionally 
flatten a 1.4 PDF, will optionally produce a pdf/x1a:2001 compliant 
file (marked as such) and so on.  They state that Scribus must be an 
amateur product because it won't do these things.

Hence my many posts and off the wall gyrations. 
John Culleton
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